Following on from the goals and objectives set out in Ireland’s National Skills Strategy (2016) and the Action Plan for Education (2016), the Government announced a call for new apprenticeship proposals on May 8th 2017.
While prior to 2016, apprenticeships were concentrated in the construction and engineering sectors, Ireland has recently been expanding the range of occupations and sectors for which apprenticeship is recognised. As part of the process a handbook on Developing a National Apprenticeship was published. The handbook explains the steps involved in developing a national apprenticeship and is primarily aimed at assisting the consortia of employers and providers involved in developing new apprenticeships.
As set out in the handbook, there are ten steps in developing a national apprenticeship, from research and formulating the outline proposal (Step 1), to creating an industrial training order (which is a statutory instrument designating an industrial activity as an apprenticeship – Step 7), to rolling out the programme with employers and apprentices (Step 10). Many of the ten steps can occur simultaneously, and development of an apprenticeship takes approximately 12-15 months.
Apprenticeships enrolment fell by 80% during the recession and Ireland’s objective is to build pathways to make Apprenticeships an option for at least 20% for school leavers by creating new partnerships with employers in the public and private sector. New sectors for apprenticeships include, medical device, polymer processing, culinary and financial services.